Published: Monday 15 December 1997

Good work

The report 'Vanishing breeds' (Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 8; September 15, 1997) correctly identified the problems facing livestock breeding. Having taken training at the National Dairy Research Institute (ndri) at Karnal, Haryana, I gave up a comfortable life in a metropolitan city and set up a farm in a remote place in Tamil Nadu. The area has received scant attention from experts in forestry and animal husbandry. Scarcity of vegetation and artificial cross-breeding have made a mess of things. The Sahiwal breed seems to have disappeared from the region. I can attest to the fact that technical training is near useless in such conditions, whereas traditional breeding techniques are successful....

Fifty years of injustice

The article titled 'Out of mind and sight' (Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 11; October 31, 1997) is just a glance at the problems faced by those displaced by large dams. The issue is not restricted to a Hirakud or a Koel-Karo project. There are hundreds of examples of oustees scattered all over India. The initiative taken by Down To Earth (dte) is commendable and you should continue to highlight the plight of people ousted from their own lands by large developmental projects....

Our ecological wealth

The editorial 'Perils of incompetence' (Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 9; September 30, 1997) was absolutely correct and to the point. Our country is seriously suffering from political incompetence and the generations to come will have to pay the price.

I think you are doing a good job by spreading awareness on environmental preservation. But your magazine appeals only to a particular class due to the language barrier. The percentage of Indians who know English is quite low. I feel that if you publish your magazine in Hindi, your appeal would be much wider. Also, issues of environmental preservation should be connected with business concerns, both large and small-scale industries. Informative posters will also go a long way in realising this goal....


In publishing a detailed analysis on the sandalwood smuggler Veerappan 'Catch me a colossus' (Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 10; October 15, 1997), you have done a good job. We ought to be cursing ourselves for electing governments and politicians who cannot catch a smuggler running a one-man show.

Going through the article, it hurts to know that even the Special Task Force has failed to nab a culprit who can be nailed by the police if the governments set their minds to it. The nexus between politicians and smugglers has something to do with the incompetence on the part of the administration.

I also liked the article titled 'Vanishing breeds' (dte, Vol 6, No 8; September 15, 1997). We should be proud of our wealth in terms of biological diversity and take good care of it. On the contrary, most of our species of domestic animals are on the verge of extinction. The lack of foresight among officials is appalling.

Whereas the first article reveals the devastation of our trees, the other points to destruction of our livestock. You are doing an excellent job in bringing this to light. Keep up the good work....

Forest mismanagement

On reading Down To Earth, one gets the impression that only one dimension of forest management is emphasised. Sustainability in forest management, as in the case of any other natural resources, is multi-dimensional. Besides the "political" dimension, which though powerful is indeterminate and uncertain, there are other aspects to forest management, such as the ecological, technical, socio-economic and institutional. Similarly, there are several goals of the same.

The problem with forest management is that at any given point of time, only one aspect and one goal is emphasised. The issue needs to be discussed in totality. We should integrate technology with ecology, economics and ethnology.

Former director, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal...

Glad to note

I was very happy to read about Arvind Sinha in the spotlight column (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 3). Our organisation wishes to get in touch with him. May we request you for his address.

G ANNE JOSEPHINE, Convenor, Women's Environmental Club, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Madras - 600 032

His address is:
C/o Swapan Chatterjee, 74-H, Poorna Das Road, Calcutta - 700 029...

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